Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails in Windows 8

This article fixes an issue in which you cannot refresh or reset the PC after Automatic Repair fails.

Applies to:   Windows 8
Original KB number:   2823223


Consider the following scenario:

  • You have Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro installed on your PC.
  • Your PC fails to boot into Windows and launches Automatic Repair to attempt to repair Windows.
  • Automatic Repair is unable to repair your PC and you select Advanced options.
  • After selecting Troubleshoot, you choose to either Refresh your PC or Reset your PC.

In this scenario, recovery may fail and you're returned back to the main WinRE screen.


This issue may occur if the System or Software registry hives have become damaged or corrupted.


To attempt to resolve this issue, follow the steps below.


These steps should only be used if you're attempting to use the Refresh your PC or Reset your PC options in Windows RE because your system is in a non-bootable state.

  1. After Automatic Repair fails to repair your PC, select Advanced options and then Troubleshoot.

  2. Select Advanced options and then select Command Prompt.

  3. If prompted, enter in the password for the user name.

  4. At the Command Prompt, go to the \windows\system32\config folder by typing the following command:

    cd %windir%\system32\config
  5. Rename the System and Software registry hives to System.001 and Software.001 by using the following commands:

    ren system system.001  
    ren software software.001


    Renaming the Software hive won't allow you to use the "Refresh your PC" option. If you want to use the "Refresh your PC" option, only rename the System hive. If the Software hive is also corrupt, you may not be able to use the "Refresh your PC" option.

  6. Type exit without the quotes to exit the Command Prompt and reboot the PC back to the Automatic Repair screen.

  7. After selecting Advanced options and then Troubleshoot, select either Refresh your PC or Reset your PC.

More information

Using the Reset your PC option will remove all of the files on your hard drive and resets your PC back to the version of Windows 8 that was preinstalled by the OEM on your PC. All new applications that were installed on your PC after you purchased it will need to be reinstalled.